Electric Zoo 2017 is done and dusted.
Day 3 is in the books and Randall’s Island can start to heal its wounds from rain and tens of thousands of dancing feet that destroyed the grounds. Day 3 brought Elrow to the Hilltop Stage, a three-hour Dixon set, Deadmau5 and Eric Prydz going back-to-back to close out the mainstage and leaving all mainstream music behind, Jauz hosting his own Off The Deepend stage and much more. Billboard was there to document the action.
3:30 p.m.: The grounds are a mess and incredibly muddy from last nights rains and even the slight drizzle that fell this morning. Some people came prepared in boots, but most just came in sneakers. Those new shoes have something coming.
3:45 p.m.: Alan Walker plays a mashup of two remixes of his new song “Tired” and potentially the people most into the song are a family next to me. The father, who could be in his 50s, busts out a GoPro and starts filming, while the mom starts dancing with her hands in the air. Alan Walker is not just for the kids.
4:34 p.m.: Ookay asks the crowd if they are ready to lose their mind and then he unleashes Trampa’s “Rocket Fuel.” Not satisfied with the performance at the first drop, he yells out “oh hell naw, I need three moshpits. I know you can do more than that.”
5:08 p.m.: Even with his steady stream of very danceable g-house tunes that the fans know and love, it was NGHTMRE’s remix of “Goosebumps” that got one of the best reactions during Joyryde’s set. The mud is irrelevant at this point as everyone headbangs along to the song.
5:20 p.m.: Yotto is keeping things very deep in the Awakenings tent with potentially a new one of his own. He isn’t the type to announce these things though.
5:31 p.m.: The Hilltop stage is redecorated in Bollywood theme and Elrow have really outdone themselves as hosts. It is hard to do it justice with just words, but the stage looks like it could be a Bollywood movie set all around the DJ booth. The ceiling has various clothes flowing across the rafters, while ornamental lamps, elephants and drums hang from roof. Black Madonna at this point is crushing the tent with Coen’s “Yellah” and it fits perfectly with the festive atmosphere.
6:00 p.m.: As a way of protecting themselves against the mud, people have wrapped their shoes in garbage bags. It is a smart move, though the mud is starting to become quite deep at this point around the festival and is destroying pants and legs as well.
6:59 p.m.: Sub Focus are bringing things back to where it all began with DJ Hazard & Distorted Minds’ “Mr Happy,” one of the great original drum and bass songs. The crowd raises their arms up and down as Sub Focus slowly builds the tune to start. Jauz is skankin’ away backstage
7:20 p.m.: There is a lot of Game of Thrones apparel around the festival. One week on from the Season 7 finale, many are having some withdrawal about no episode tonight. With the weather starting to turn this weekend, it is starting to feel like winter is coming. A chilling thought.
7:45 p.m.: Henrik Schwartz is bobbing up and down furiously to his techno and the crowd is moving along with him. A gorgeous sunset can be seen from behind the tent.
8:14 p.m.: After Slushii closed out his set with his “Closer” remix and “I Still Recall with live vocals, he brings out the final act, stage host and most importantly, birthday boy, Jauz. The crowd sings happy birthday to Jauz who gets an Oreo cake and thanks everyone, before getting a crowd photo with Slushii and Ookay in as well.
8:25 p.m.: Slushii remerges once again, along with Crankdat, who performed on the Hilltop Stage on Saturday, to help Jauz introduce their collab together “I Hold Still.” Someone next to me says to a friend “I am so happy right now.” There is an inflatable shark (not surprising) and then an inflatable flamingo riding an inflatable whale (surprising) at the stage.
8:54 p.m.: Armin van Buuren gives the New York trance family a shout out. Going with a classic, “Communication,” he dedicates the song to those who have been following him since he has been coming to New York from the age 22.
9:30 p.m.: Dixon is halfway through his “marathon” three-hour festival set to close out the Awakenings tent. The techno is strong with this one as the crowd shuffles along with a pretty stoic Dixon.
9:40 p.m.: The crowd for Eric Prydz and Deadmau5 is the biggest anyone has had the entire festival. The horde is out for Mau5 with heads bobbing up and down sporadically throughout the crowd. There is no cube, no helmet, no bullshit. The pair are rinsing out straight techno at this point, bringing tunes that normally wouldn’t get any sort of run on the Electric Zoo mainstage to the masses
10:30 p.m.: The techno is not stopping as they pull out a mashup of Maceo Plex’s “Solar Detroit” and Morgan Page’s “Longest Road.” The crowd acknowledges the vocal and starts to sing along. Some may have been skeptical of the techno to start, but tunes like “Solar” are making them believers. Some guy walks by me and yells an approving “yeaaaaahhhhhh!!!”
10:46 p.m.: “On/Off” starts to build and the green dot begins to flash on the LED wall behind Prydz and Deadmau5. The lasers have been deployed previously at this point, but most people are aware of what is about to happen.
10:48 p.m.: This isn’t the “Higher State of Consciousness” mashup, but the lasers are still deployed with great effect. Roars of approval come from the crowd as phones emerge from pockets to film the lasers. Someone has their shoe in the air. It is officially a party.
11:04 p.m.: The festival is done. Electric Zoo announces on the screen that they will see everyone for the 10th year anniversary next year and people slowly meander one last time out of the mud and to their mode of transportation home. Legs are heavy, my feet are on fire from wearing boots, but you will be hard pressed to find someone frowning at the end of that.